Synopsis by Connor McMadden
Varlin is a documentary about the life and work of the Swiss painter Varlin, and his struggle to become accepted by the Swiss art world. A straightforward piece making use of archival footage, the film begins with an investigation into Varlin's youth in Zurich, a city he despised for its narrow-minded ways. In the year 1920, 20-year-old Varlin departs for Berlin to study painting, and two years later moves to Paris. It is here that Varlin struggles to make a name for himself, barely scratching out an existence until he is discovered by gallery owner Theopold Zborovski. After eleven years have passed, and just when Varlin thinks his luck has changed, Zborovski dies. Varlin then returns to Switzerland where he dives into expressionism, creating a series of paintings that are scorned by conservative Swiss society. The film culminates with Varlin triumphantly receiving the coveted Guggenheim prize in Venice, thereby winning international recognition for his work.